Want to dress vintage like the good dancers you see out? Here are some resources to help you get that vintage swing dancer look. Guys, stay away from loud Zoot Suits. That might work in some areas of the country but in So. Cal. that is a dead giveaway for a wannabe swing dancer, to be avoided at all costs. The cool swing dancers wear authentic vintage clothing (or new clothing designed to copy authentic vintage designs) from the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. The 50’s rockabilly look can work well for certain events. Here are some links to help you get that vintage look that you’ve been looking for. Tell them you found them on SwingDance.LA!
For shoes, check out my beginner’s guide to shoes for Swing dancing!
L.A./O.C. Vintage Clothing Stores
Some of these have true vintage clothing, while others are modern reproductions inspired by vintage styles.
An alarming number of vintage clothing stores have folded in recent years due to increasing rents and gentrification. Some have moved to online-only sales. Let’s support the brick-and-mortar vintage stores that are still around!
Some areas of L.A. with a lot of vintage clothing stores include Long Beach’s 4th Street “Retro Row”, Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank, York Blvd. near Highland Park, and Melrose Avenue in Mid City.
- Audrey K Boutique in Burbank has vintage-inspired shoes and clothing for women.
- Playclothes Vintage – Vintage clothing in Burbank!
- Slone Vintage – near Playclothes on Magnolia in Burbank also has some good vintage pieces for men and women.
- Unique Vintage – Has a good selection of 20s/30s flapper dresses as well as pinup dresses. They have a store in Burbank at 212 N. San Fernando Blvd.
Space City Vintage – vintage and repro women and menswear in Little Tokyo downtown.
- Leader of the Pack Vintage – One of several great vintage stores in Highland Park!
- The Plus Bus Consignment – This is a unique concept: a consignment store for plus-sized folks! In Highland Park.
- Ramon’s Rags to Riches Vintage Clothing & Gallery – Another great vintage store in Highland park. This is a smaller store, emphasizing quality over quantity. They have a selection of Pendleton shirts.
- Iguana Vintage Clothing has locations in Hollywood, North Hollywood, and Sherman Oaks.
- Paper Moon Vintage – I read some great reviews of this place, on Hollywood Blvd.
- Starday Vintage – in Hollywood is great with womens and menswear. On the same street Paper Moon used to be on.
- Meow Vintage – Vintage clothing store on Long Beach’s 4th Street “Retro Row”
- Sneaky Tiki boutique on Long Beach’s 4th Street “Retro Row” has some good menswear, vintage and repro.
Melrose / Mid-City
- Golyester Vintage – just down the street from The Way We Wore is great.
- Re-mix Classic Vintage Footware – Great selection of new vintage-style shoes, located right here in L.A. on Beverly Blvd not far from The Grove! Women tell me this place has the most comfortable, most stylish Swing dancing shoes around (although they are pricey).
- SquaresVille Vintage on Vermont has men’s and women’s vintage clothing.
- The Way We Wore – on La Brea Ave. in LA is great but pricey.
- Elsewhere Vintage is the sister store to Joyride in the Orange circle. “Great prices and service”, reader Linda reports.
- Joyride Vintage for Men – Highly recommended vintage clothing store in Old Town Orange!
- A Walk Through Time Vintage (Thousand Oaks) – has vintage clothing from all eras. Can order online as well.
Whittier / Pomona
- Crash the Party Vintage in Whittier specializes in clothing from the 1940’s and 50’s. They also have an Etsy store.
- Reese’s Vintage Pieces – This is now a physical store in Pomona! Benny Reese features his amazing collection of vintage menswear, with over 400 men’s suits in stock!
Note, the vast majority of these brick-and-mortar stores also have online stores or an Etsy shop!
Online-Only Vintage Clothing Stores
- 1940sStyleForYou – womenswear based in UK
- Bandini St. Etsy – Swing-themed headbands, flowers, and accessories, hand-made in Los Angeles! SwingDance.LA Pick!
- BlueFennel – womenswear based in US
- Cats Like Us – Online vintage clothing based in New York.
- dancestore.com – Online Swing dance shoe store for men and women. This is the place to go for Swing dancing shoes. Return policy is good if anything doesn’t fit. A friend recommended this store to me. SwingDance.LA Pick!
- dethrosevintage– womenswear based in Chicago, Illinois
- FabGabs – great womenswear based in Seattle, Washington
- FashionaireVintage – womenswear based in New York
- Freddies of Pinewood – This UK online store has great vintage-styled clothing for men and women!
- GarbOhVintage– based in Portland, Oregon
- House of Foxy – This is a UK-based online store with a delightful selection of 1930’s through 1950’s styled women’s dresses. Very authentic-looking. They do deliver worldwide.
- thelilyvintage– womenswear based in Sweden
- Lindy Bop – Modern recreations of vintage styles. Based in the UK, but they ship to the U.S.
- Loco Lindo – Vintage inspired clothing for women. Looks like they have some nice dresses for swing dancing!
- LuckyDryGoods – based in Seattle, Washington
- OverAttiredVintage-great womens and menswear based in Oakland, California
- Paper Moon Vintage – Formerly a brick-and-mortar store in Hollywood, this store is now on Etsy.
- Pinup Girl Clothing – Started out with more emphasis on “pinup” but now has lots of vintage styles for women.
- PiperCubVintage– womenswear based in Idaho
- Rare Revival Vintage – Great authentic women’s vintage clothing perfect for wearing out to your next Swing dance event. Run by my friend and frequent Swing dancer, Christina Coffey.
- Rag Mopp Vintage – Formerly a brick-and-mortar store in Silverlake, this store has gone online.
- RubyMaeRose – womenswear based in Canada
- SmallEarthVintage– based in Michigan
- Smokin’ Gun Vintage – My friend and frequent Swing dancer Christina runs this Etsy store featuring “mid-century modern, Art-Deco, rock ‘n roll, and mod” fashions! Check it out if you want something cool to wear when you go Swing dancing! SwingDance.LA Pick!
- Stacy Adams – Has men’s dress shoes that can be used for Swing dancing.
- TheStarletsStylist – womenswear based in Canada
- SwingGear.co.uk – Has Swing dancing shoes for men and women. Based in the UK.
- Tarantula Clothing Company – Based in San Pedro, this online clothing company specializes in looks from the 40’s and 50’s.
- Tatyana Boutique – Has NEW designs in a vintage style!
- Vintage Martini – Online only, but has a good selection. Based in Texas.
- VintageVictoryGirl– womenswear based in Canada
- Wear it Again Sam – Has a good selection of items (and a great name). Based in San Diego, but online Etsy store only.
- WillowHilsonVintage – womenswear based in the UK
A lot of the Etsy shops also sell on their Instagram/Instagram stories where you’ll probably see the pieces before they land on Etsy.
Many thanks to reader Vanessa for the head’s up on many of these stores!
- Swungover – Has a great guide to men’s vintage haircuts.
- Women’s Swing Dance Shoe Hunt – The Lindy Loft started a Facebook group solely (no pun intended) dedicated to women’s Swing dance shoes.
- Vintage portrait photography – Get black and white headshots exactly how they looked in the 1930’s!
- What Kate Did is an online vintage lingerie store based in the UK.
- Dave Welch’s Flickr Page – Oh my goodness, it’s hard to find a more complete and better collection of LA Swing dance photos than here.
- Steve Hwan’s Photography Blog – Tips on photographing swing dancers!
Please leave a comment below if you know of another resource that I’ve missed! I’ll be happy to add it to this list! Thanks! – Brian